SpaceX Now Has “All the Pieces” For Truly Reusable Rockets, Update: SpaceX successfully docks with Space Station

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    Oct 01, 2013 7:45 PM GMT
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/rockets/musk-spacex-now-has-all-the-pieces-for-reusable-rockets-15985616?click=pm_news

    On Sunday, SpaceX leapt toward its dream of affordable orbital flight through reusable launch vehicles. The company's Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast carrying the Canadian CASSIOPE scientific satellite, as well as a trio of small, university-built satellites. But the big success for Elon Musk's space venture came when some of the rockets succeeded in refiring their engines, a major step toward a reusable Falcon 9.

    The rocket that launched yesterday was a significant upgrade from the company's previous-generation Falcon 9 rocket. The nine liquid-fuel Merlin 1D engines in the first stage provided 55 percent more thrust at sea level than their predecessor, the Merlin 1C, for a total of 1.3 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. At 224 feet, the rocket was taller than the previous Falcon 9 to accommodate more fuel. A new 17-foot-wide payload fairing was also a stretch from previous fairings, which had allowed only payloads that fit within the 12-foot-diameter of the rocket itself. Finally, the Falcon 9 v1.1 incorporated a simpler stage separation system.
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    Oct 06, 2013 2:31 PM GMT
    The Orbital Cygnus launch was a success. Whenever a rocket launches, it's a nervous moment.
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    Dec 04, 2013 7:47 PM GMT
    Awesome - SpaceX is revolutionizing the rocket business - delivering launches for over 75% less than its competitors - a very big deal:

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/how-to/blog/spacex-sat-launch-rewrite-the-rules-16205852?click=pm_latest

    This marks an important milestone for the company, which had never before delivered cargo to this pivotal orbit. Even more important, it marks a new level of affordability for accessing space. Monday’s launch will cost SES about $60 million. That’s $200 million less than proven European provider Arianespace charges. Still, while today's launch is impressive, but it will take years before SpaceX can be considered to have a safety record comparable to longer-standing providers.

    SpaceX is unique in the sat launch world. The company got this far with support from NASA contracts, which it earned by launching cargo to the International Space Station. But whereas other commercial sat launch companies are directly subsidized by Russia or the European Union, SpaceX designs and operates its own rockets and spacecraft from government-run spaceports. Other U.S. launchers loft payloads only for U.S. government customers. With SpaceX, the U.S. is back in the commercial launch business, and at a game-changing price point.
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    Apr 20, 2014 9:44 PM GMT
    SpaceX Dragon Successfully Docked With The Space Station
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2014/04/20/spacex-dragon-successfully-docked-with-the-space-station/
    At 10:06am Eastern time, the SpaceX Dragon successfully berthed with the International Space Station, marking the fourth time that one of the company’s Dragon spacecraft has made the trip successfully.

    The spacecraft made a series of several engine burns in the wee hours of the morning to make its approach. At around 7:14am EST, the space station’s robotic arm grappled onto the Dragon and brought it close to the station’s Harmony module. The arm was controlled by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and NASA’s Rick Mastracchio.

    The Dragon craft is loaded with 5000 pounds of cargo for the space station. In addition to supplies for the astronauts, the spacecraft is also loaded with a number of scientific experiments, including a space garden and a smartphone powered satellite.
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    Apr 25, 2014 7:45 PM GMT
    This is paving the way for a massive new industry...

    SpaceX Brings a Booster Safely Back to Earth
    The successful test of a soft touchdown demonstrates a capability that could cut the cost of space launches significantly.
    http://www.technologyreview.com/news/526806/spacex-brings-a-booster-safely-back-to-earth/